0screconcrt5.jpgWhile screen technology is currently about new resolution and glossy colours, Innovation Lab have been co-operating with Christoffer Dupont, student of engineering; Lene Langballe, student of architecture and Dalton Beton (a Danish manufacturer of concrete components) on a screen made of transparent concrete.

The screen consists of concrete with embedded optical fibres, arranged as pixels, capable of transmitting natural as well as artificial light. The light-admission points are on the back of the screen where the fibres are positioned. The light, or the picture, is then displayed in pixels on the front. The light source can be a projector emitting either pictures or film footage. In principle, the screen is capable of acting as a window since – owing to the combination of the screen concept's light-absorption and optical cables – it has a capacity for transmitting natural light.


The concept might well influence building industry, architecture, design and other business areas.

Video on the webpage. Come and see the screen in Copenhagen, on Dec. 1-3 at the NEXT exhibtion.

See also Litracon's Light transmitting concrete.

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NEC Corp has developed two types of miniature gadgets that convert fluorescent lamps into power outlets. It's the first step towards producing data emitters and other power-consuming electronics machines to be fixed to the ceilings in stations and shopping centers without having to conduct costly electrical wiring work.

Image from Dan Flavin's retrospective at the Hayward Gallery

One of the two gadgets — a ring-shaped component around the lamp — generates electricity by converting faint pulses of electromagnetic energy radiated by fluorescent lamps into electric currents. The other — a thin round plate-shaped component at either one of the two metal ends of a fluorescent lamp — siphons off part of the usual electricity that is supplied to the lamp to make it fluorescent.

Via Crisscross Japan and Kyodo news.

Related: Talking lights.

As some of you might know, this year's DAF (Digital Art Festival) Tokyo took place from December 9th till the 13th. I was excited to hear that Toshio Iwai presented some of his latest works. We already reported on TENORI-ON (regine had a hands-on experence with this device back in September.)

But, what is it this? I am very eager to see this one called Morphovision with my naked eyes.

[Morphovision in action.]

Morphovision is a system that distorts/modifies what you see with your naked eyes. It was co-developed by Toshio Iwai and NHK Science & Technical Research and Laboratories.

In front of a physical 3D miniature house (placed in a glass box) is a touch screen that allows a user to select different visual effects. According to the user's selection, the house may become soft or even break apart. This all happens between your naked eyes and the miniature house - no special goggles or screens needed. I can't help saying that we are a step closer to "photoshopping the real world."
[The apparatus.]

Of course, the house doesn't actually get soft or break apart. It's the light source that changes. The house is actually spinning very fast and the light source creates certain light patterns that are in sync with the house's rotation. The light patterns are modified based on what the user selects with the touch screen. The system can create animated visual effects as well.

Such a visual experience would be more surprising to my brain than, for example, viewing a synthetic VR/AR images using an HMD (Head Mount Display).

via DAF 2005, Digital Stadium, and NHK Information

Scientists are working on techniques for creating future computers, sensors and other devices that use molecules, such as proteins and DNA, instead of conventional electronic components.

Now, engineers at Purdue University have created a nanotech simulation tool that shows how current flows between silicon atoms and individual molecules to help researchers design "molecular electronic" devices for future computers and advanced sensors.

Molecular electronics could make it possible to manufacture hardware by "growing" circuits and devices in layers that may "self-assemble," similar to the growth of structures in living organisms.

Via Purdue News.

Input of information is becoming a challenging task as portable electronic devices become smaller and smaller. Smart Laser Scanner for Human-Computer Interface allows users to input data by just executing bare-handed gestures in front of a portable device - that could then be embodied in a keyboardless wrist-watch.

Ultimately, coupling such interface with a projective display (e.g. an eyeglass-mounted display or even a laser-based display) capable of creating a large virtual space would completely remove the need of any real interaction area for viewing or inputting data, allowing further downsizing of mobile computing devices.

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The team's tracking system is currently using a laser diode (visible or invisible light), steering mirrors, and a non-imaging photodetector, which is capable of acquiring 3D coordinates in real time without the need of any image processing at all. Essentially, it is a smart rangefinder scanner that instead of continuously scanning over the full field of view, restricts its scanning area, on the basis of a real-time analysis of the backscattered signal, to a very narrow window precisely the size of the target.

Developed by Alvaro Cassinelli, Stephane Perrin and Masatoshi Ishikawa at the University of Tokyo. See also their Khronos Projector.

The website has loooads of videos.

Personal computers could soon fit entirely on a key ring. Researchers at IBM have developed the SoulPad system to carry a powerful, personalised virtual computer from one PC to the next, without losing the user’s work.

The virtual computer is stored on a USB key, or any portable device with substantial storage space, like an MP3 player. The virtual computer’s "soul" can then be uploaded to another PC by plugging the portable device in. This host machine needs no special software or even a network connection to take on an entirely new personality.


The SoulPad system does not provide an instant switch, however. A user must wait a couple of minutes while the software configures the host system for use.

IBM expects other devices, such as cellphones, to be launched with large storage capacity in the near future which would be able to carry SoulPad.

Video demo.

Via New Scientist.

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